Taiwan’s Elan sues Apple over touchpad, touchscreen patents

“Taiwan chip designer Elan Microelectronics is suing Apple in the United States for what is says is infringement of two of its touchscreen technology patents by the MacBook, iPhone and iPod Touch,” Roger Tung and Kelvin Soh report for Reuters.

“Elan said in a statement released on Wednesday that it owned the rights to technology that allowed Apple’s products to detect the position of the finger on a touchscreen or touchpad,” Tung and Soh report.

“It said it previously won a similar lawsuit against Synaptics Inc, and would be seeking an injunction to stop the sales of any Apple products that had infringed on its patents,” Tung and Soh report. “The company did not say how much in compensation they were seeking.”

Full article here.

Jonathan Adams reports for The New York Times, “Elan said it won a preliminary court injunction against a U.S.-based rival, Synaptics, in a dispute over one of the patents mentioned in the Apple lawsuit, after a suit was filed in 2006 by a unit that was a subsidiary at the time. Synaptics countersued.”

“Both actions were dismissed last year after the two companies reached a cross-licensing agreement, according to a statement on Elan’s Web site,” Adams reports.

“That result likely emboldened the company to take legal action against Apple, said Jessica Chang, a Taipei-based analyst who covers Elan for Credit Suisse,” Adams reports. “Ms. Chang said that in addition to trying to secure a licensing agreement and royalties from Apple, Elan may seek future cooperation with the California company and try to raise its market profile with this case.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Elan has patents which, by definition, are possession of the sole rights to make, use, or sell an invention, then they have every right under the law to attempt to secure a licensing agreement and royalties from Apple and, failing that, to sue for patent infringement. We’ll leave it to the courts or to Apple and Elan to settle on the proper outcome.

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